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6 Reasons Why You Should Open Up TLC’s ‘Fanmail’ Right This Second

“A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly and is also known as a busta..” 

Yes. We all know and still live by (don’t even try it, boo) the words provided by Ms. Chili on the ultimate triflin’ gentlmen kiss-off anthem, “No Scrubs,” TLC’s Billboard chart bulldozing single which served as the second single from their now two decade old (!!!!!) third studio album, Fanmail.

And of course, you still betta in ’99, Ms. T-Boz and sigh..Ms. Left Eye

A strong, sexy record packed with TLC‘s trademark sass (“If They Knew,” “I’m Good at Being Bad), hardcore life truth (“Unpretty,” and of course, “No Scrubs”), baby makin’ ballads (“Dear Lie,” “I Miss You So Much) and interludes with a diva laced robotic voice named Vic E (hey, gurl!), the globally dominating set proved that our now decade owning legendary music trio still had the chops and chants to get our complete attention…and that they certainly did with this f@#king record. 

However, as much as Fanmail was the TLC comeback record that us late ’90s music kids were thirsty for, it was beyond that and cemented these fierce music women as true creative redemption artists that could withstand the Pebbles rain and so, so much more through the art of music.  

So, here’s 6 reasons why you should rip open TLC’s still standout Fanmail right this very second…and our journey begins on the mail room dance floor with a little “Silly Ho” action….

1.Because we ALL need a little more “Silly Ho” lovin’ in our lives…. Although “No Scrubs” was the behemoth smash number one single that put our lovely ladies back into our CD Player‘d lives (and into a handful of Grammy nods a bit later down the road), it was actually lead buzz single “Silly Ho” that served up the sassy message that TLC was….back. Although there was no video for the T-Boz conquered cut, it’s still just as ready and underrated as ever, so we should all turn this classic Fanmail banger up right now as this is one “Silly Ho” we’ll always get down with on the dance floor. 

2.”No Scrubs” allowed…..ever.  We’ve already made it abundantly clear how we feel about passenger side ridin’ gentlemen who live at home with they mamas,,,,nd yes, son, we’re talking to you. Now, the classic Hype Williams directed video (and big ol’ shout out, Ms. Kandi Burruss for the penmanship!) !!) over-and-over again forever. 

3.Because we’ll never, ever, ever feel unpretty thanks to “Unpretty” 

“You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty
(Yeah) I’ll make you feel unpretty too” 

No further statements except to say that TLC‘s Billboard Hot 100 owning anthem about lovin’ ya damn self is still ridiculously relevent in today’s social media driven body focus and culture. Leave it to our groovy gals to make us think once again about some life shit on top of their trademark beats….perhaps that’s why we’ll always love them so much. Oh, wait..it most definitely is. Plus, the accompanying “Unpretty” video, though…priceless. Now, everybody watch. 

And we just can’t forget the Junior Mafia slayed “Unpretty” remix….ever. 

4.thank u next, Pebbles….Picture it…June 1994. Lisa done burn the house down (right, Ms. Chili and Mr. Andre Rison?), and our dynamic trio was in a touch of, um, ignited hot water thanks to Ms. Lopes’ legal fees prior to the release of their soon-to-be universe shattering sophomore set, CrazySexyCool.  

Then picture it again a year later (oh, we sooo can), that said sizzling album was certified diamond on the Billboard album charts (ten million stateside…that’s,like, a f#$k of a lot) thanks to a globally gobbling world tour and red-hot classic hits like “Creep,” “Red Light Special,” “Kick Your Game,” and of course, “Waterfalls” The gals’ fame was riding high…and as we all know from that now classic Lifetime biopic..their fortune..not so much. Right, Ms. Pebbles? Sigh..yes. 

If you’ll also remember, the future for TLC’s third set around this time certainly looked bleek while Ms. “Mercedes Boy” was robbing them blind, so when it was announced that Fanmail was going to be released and that they kicked that bitch to the curb and that they we’re finally going to deservedly get theirs…we couldn’t have been more god damn happier.

As much as this five million copies selling set from our fierce gals was a comeback record of all comeback records, it was also a true redemption moment in music time to prove that they could overcome any drama…even the firestorm of shade and drama from Ms. Pebbles. Werk, ladies, werk. 

5.Sigh…miss you, Ms. Lopes……While TLC released Fanmail follow-up (the vastly overlooked and dynamic) 3D in 2002, sadly, it was released a few months after our beloved Ms. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was killed in that tragic car accident while retreating in Honduras. While we could indeed go on and on about her tireless spiritual fight and music legacy (we really, really could), we just have to take a moment to remember that it was this album right here where we last saw all three of our girls working and slaying together for our music lovin’ lives. And it’s for that very splendid reason that we’ll always salute this record and make sure we know every lick and lyric to Ms. Lopes’ signature “Waterfalls” rap and have no more lonely cries..ever. Sigh, miss you boo. 

6.Because it’s just a lil’ TLC teaser for CrazySexyCool’s 25th anniversary…… While there will be never be no party like a ‘Fanmail‘ reminscin’-and-openin’ party, this coveted celebration is just a precursor to the Botox worthy fact that TLC’s freshman record, CrazySexyCool, will be a quarter-of-a-fucking-century-old later this year. Put that in your Pebbles pen and smoke it because we’re going to have revisit all of that mess when the time comes. 

But you know what you should do right now? Listen to TLC’s beautiful, blessed and celebrated third studio set, Fanmail. No further statements…and still don’t even try it, boo. 

For much more crazy, sexy, cool shenanigans like this and so much more, send some fan mail to Philly Mixtape right here and here 

Cover photo courtesy of Pitchfork and not Pebbles 

 

 

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Forgot About Friday/Arrested Development

To all of the ’90s kids out there….close your eyes for a forgotten about music moment in time. 

Now, imagine a world without the vibes and beats of Arrested Development‘s Grammy winning album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of… laced throughout it and spreading the life that it did when it took over our Sony Walkmans nearly a quarter-of-a-century (!!) ago. 

We just can’t do it. 

Oh, and a game of horseshoes down by the peach tree, anyone? Always.

The music brainchild of rap vocalist Todd Thomas (“Speech”) and beat master Timothy Barnwell (“Headliner”), Arrested Development first formed in Atlanta in 1988 along with members Dionne Farris (“I Know,” right?), Montsho Eshe, Baba Oje, One Love, Tasha Larae, Rasadon, JJ Boogie and Aerle Taree. 

Bulldozing onto the Billboard charts with their pulsating and powerful lead single, “Tennessee,” the still truly one-of-a-kind group instantly became regarded for their soulful rhymes and Southern fried beats, which were abundantly crisp and clear in any one of their follow-up singles including “Mr. Wendal” and their groovy rewire of the Sly & the Family Stone classic, “Everyday People,” which they musically crafted into “People Everyday.” Genius. 

It also never hurts to mention that Arrested Development also gained recognition from Grammy voters in 1993 when they would take home two trophies-one Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Tennessee” and the coveted Best New Artist honor. Yeah, it was like that…and it still most certainly is when it comes to that classic AD funkdafied flair and sound. 

Also during their early ’90s reign, Arrested Development also caught the attention of famed (and currently Oscar nominated) director Spike Lee to add a song to his then upcoming, little known film, Malcolm X. The group took Mr. Lee’s offer and of course, vibe-d with it, recording the thunderous single, “Revolution,” which appearers on the oldies (but goodies!) dominated accompanying soundtrack. 

However, much like what happens with most Best New Artist winners(by the way, hey there, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin and Marc Cohn), Arrested Development’s music struggle certainly became a little too post-Grammy real with their 1994 sophomore set, Zingalamaduni. Besides the moderate chart success of lead single, “Ease My Mind,” the album wasn’t as well received on the charts as its predecessor, which would eventually lead the group to part ways a few years later in 1996 due to “creative differences.”

However, putting their differences aside in the late ’00s, the group reformed and continued to tour overseas, eventually releasing released their 10th (!) and final album Standing At The Crossroads in 2012. Recorded while touring internationally, the album also coincided with the 20th anniversary of their debut for which the group embarked on an official worldwide tour to celebrate. They also kept the good vibes and beats flowing just last year with the release of “Craft and Optics,” which indeed proves that Arrested Development hasn’t lost a bit even two decades later. 

Not that they ever would, because when it came to this group, they’ll always be in a groovy, life-filled music class of their very own, and it’s something no ’90s kid or beyond should ever forget. 

For many, many more delightful memories along this here music way, play a game of horseshoes with Philly Mixtape right here and here

Arrested Development cover photo courtesy of SPIN

 

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Forgot About Friday/Donna Lewis

Feels like…..

……the raspy-yet-oh,so-angelic voice of the late ’90s wonder that will always be raptured in Donna Lewis never left us whenever we press aaah on her life-defying Billboard chart owning smash, “I Love You Always Forever.” 

And that keyboard owned middle breakdown? Bitch still betta werk our CD Maxi-Single‘d existences. 

Sorry, there’s just no sugar-coating it when it comes to a full year of forgotten about music memories that still take over our lives….much like the memories of Ms. Donna still indeed do. 

So, let’s begin to serve out the 2019 Forgot About Friday music truth, shall we? And this year’s journey (let’s face it, the list is already complete…right, Tweet, Ft. Minor, Akon, and Ms. Sophie B Hawkins?) all begins with a late ’90s rasp that we all fell in love with and will never forget. 

Born in Cardiff, Wales, Ms. Lewis was not only gifted with that voice, but with a strong musical background as her jazz pianist father got her into taking piano lessons at age six. While in high school, Lewis further owned her craft, giving her try-and succeeding in–writing a pop tune or twelve. Soon, the future soul snatching diva would earn her music degree from the Welsh College of Music and Drama, where had majored in classical composition for piano and flute. 

Just think…that is all most likely where that fabulous “Forever” breakdown got its first pearl clutching notes…yes

But of course, it was that voice again that sparked everyone’s heartbeats-and-eardums, and by the late ’90s, the future “Love” owner developed a loyal fan base and begun recording demos of her songs in her home studio. It wasn’t long before a demo of “I Love You Always Forever” caught the upright attention of Atlantic Records chairman Doug Morris, who purportedly flew Lewis to New York for an audition and quickly signed her to the label…and the rest is pure Now in a Minute history. 

Catapulting right into our late-summer–of-’96 lives (you remember), Lewis’ lead single was a Billboard bulldozing number two smash, where it would go on to spend nine weeks in the runner-up position.

So, what other monster single was keeping Donna from the top, you ask? A little dance ditty diva named “Macarena.” Oh, the ’90s…what bliss. 

But still….we lived for “Love,” and Minute album sales only further continued to rise when the equally dreamy, “Without Love” stormed the charts, eventually landing at number twenty-four. 

And let’s not leave out Lewis’ heavenly single release the following year, ‘”At the Beginning,” which was not just inspired by the Disney classic, Anastasia, but featured the one, the only, Mr. Richard Marx….priceless. 

And the moment when Donna Lewis met Donna Martin on a very, very special episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, well, it may be second to Color Me Badd as being one of the best television episodes of all time. Take a seat, Friends…because this 90210 montage is speaking. 

Of course, the late ’90s were nothing like they actually seemed, and Lewis had a bit of a struggle with the charts when her follow-up record, 1998’s Blue Planet, wasn’t the sophomore success (electronica, though?) any of us were hoping for. Although the single, “Love Him ” did turn out to be a moderate Billboard dance hit, but soon, all of us came to realize that we forgot about Donna….nah, never. 

The ’90s pop goddess did serve out a handful of records in the early ’00s, but none could ever take her back to the lightning-in-a-bottle that was instilled in her debut record, Now in a Minute, and its still ridiculously heavenly lead offering, “I Love You Always Forever.” 

And it’s a music memory that we’ll all love always and forever, and one we shall never, ever forget. 

Cover photo courtesy of the still epic video for “I Love You Always Forever” 

For much more forgotten about music memories all year long, throw it back to Philly Mixtape right here and here